Epiglottitis:  Inflammation of the epiglottis
that tends to cause airway obstruction, this disease typically strikes
children between ages 2 and 8.  Epiglottitis sometimes follows an
upper respiratory infection and may rapidly progress to complete upper
airway obstruction within 2 to 5 hours.  An emergency, epiglottitis
can prove fatal in &% to 12% of victims unless it’s recognized and
treated promptly.

Epiglottis:  the lid like cartilaginous structure overhanging
the entrance to the larynx, guarding it during swallowing

Cause:  Usually, Hemophilus influenzae type B causes the
disorder.  At times, pneumococci and Group A streptococci causes it.


Laryngeal obstruction

High fever

Stridor ( a harsh, high-pitched respiratory sound)

Sore throat

Difficulty swallowing

Dysphagia (impairment of speech)




Usually the child attempting to relieve severe respiratory distress
may hyperextend his neck, sit up, and lean forward with his mouth open,
tongue protruding, and nostrils flaring as he tries to breathe.


Emergency hospitalization

May require emergency endotracheal intubation or a tracheotomy

Respiratory distress that interferes with swallowing requires parenteral
fluid administration to prevent dehydration

A patient with acute epiglottitis should always receive a 10 day course
of parenteral antibiotics – usually ampicillin